Sweater Workshop: The Chincoteague Jacket

Mimi modeling her Chincoteague Jacket

A note from Kathleen: One of my friends, Mimi, just finished knitting the Chincoteague Jacket from the 2012 Spring issue of Interweave Knits and it is stunning! We took the picture at right before the second sleeve was finished, but still, it's amazing, right?

This is a challenging knit, but so worth it. and it's flattering on lots of body types, too. I can't wait to borrow it from Mimi!

Here's Knits editor Eunny Jang to take us in-depth on the Chincoteague Jacket.

An Experiment in Knitted Architecture

Chincoteague Jacket, side A

In the Spring issue of Interweave Knits, Lisa Jacobs turns knitting inside-out with the Chincoteague Jacket. It's a fascinating piece that takes advantage of stitch structure and garment construction quirks—along with some smart finishing details—to make a completely reversible sweater. Let's look at why it works:

1) A reversible—but two-sided—stitch pattern. This jacket represents one of those great marriages of stitch and garment—it uses a slipped-stitch texture pattern that shows strong herringbone stripes on one side, and a shadowy echo of those stripes on the other. On side A, the stripes are slipped knit stitches floating high above a purled background. On side B, the purls appear as knits, and the slipped stitches disappear, showing only as slight dimples in the fabric where they create tension. The result is a fabric that appeals from the inside and the outside.

2) A crunchy-cool yarn. The Chincoteague Jacket uses a wool/silk blend yarn, Harrisville Designs Silk & Wool, held double throughout. The yarn is slightly, subtly tweedy, with a wonderful heathered quality. It highlights the texture of the slipped stitches, and adds visual richness to the "plain" side of the fabric.

3) Smart construction. This jacket has a classic, double-breasted silhouette with turned-back lapels, set-in sleeves, and knitted-in pockets on the "plain" side. The garment starts with a simple, classic boxy jacket shape with deeply overlapping fronts with a scoop neckline. When a collar piece is knitted on, the upper corners of the front pieces turn back along with the collar to form a lapel that shows a hint of the opposite side's stitch pattern.

Chincoteague, side B

The jacket's real closures are six snaps between the two fronts. Decorative buttons are sewn to both sides of the jacket over the snap positions. Whichever way the garment is worn, the buttons appear to be holding the garment closed, and the fronts are both oriented the right way!

 4) Clever finishing details. The Chincoteague Jacket avoids seams throughout, using invisibly picked-up stitches instead to join one piece of knitting to another. With a body knitted in one piece, shoulder seams that are grafted together, and sleeves that are invisibly picked up and knitted down from the armscyes, the jacket has no ugly wrong-side seam allowances. This invisible pick-up technique is useful in all kinds of places where you don't want a seam to show: If you'd like to try this knitting technique for yourself, just follow these instructions:

*With yarn in back, pick up and knit 1 st, with yarn in front, pick up and purl 1 st; rep from * to end.

At Interweave Knits, we love knits that turn into something more than you'd expect. Subscribe now to make sure you don't miss a single one!

Happy knitting,

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